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Rejection of Reality: Apple Denies Endgame:Syria 172

Posted by timothy
from the sometimes-reality-is-harsh dept.
arclightfire writes "Endgame:Syria billed itself as the first game to cover on ongoing war in a mashup of interactivity and journalism. However it seems like Apple is not happy with this idea, as PocketTactics reports; 'Apple's app guidelines have once again tripped up the release of a strategy game rooted in a real-world conflict. Auroch Digital's Endgame Syria has been rejected by Apple's approvals team for violating guidelines section 15.3, "solely target[ing] a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity." If section 15.3 sounds familiar, it's because it was the clause invoked when Cupertino said no to Pacific Fleet back in September – the game ran afoul of the guidelines for including Japanese flags in a WWII naval sim.'"
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Rejection of Reality: Apple Denies Endgame:Syria

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  • Politcal Games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jiro (131519) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:11AM (#42518591)

    Something I pointed out the last time this game was covered:

    The problem with political games is that... they're still political.

    Imagine that instead of making a game about the conflict, the same group had simply put out an editorial saying "Here is what we think about the war in Syria, and exactly what is happening there."

    If they did that, and it was promoted as much as a game was, and it was typical media quality, everyone here would jump on it in a minute, pointing out that the editorial oversimplifies the war, and that most editorials are made by people with strong opinions on the subject who may be biased. Or the writer of the editorial may have based it on news reports but been a bit too trusting of them. Perhaps the editorial, while supposedly summarizing the war, leaves out important events. (And that's assuming all the facts in it are literally true.)

    But package your editorial as a game, and everyone eats it up, as a "unique gamification approach" which "reports the news in the most entertaining fashion possible". As if a contentious subject suddenly turns into a completely objective analysis just because it was put in something that has cards and a score. Please.

    • Re:Politcal Games (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:22AM (#42518727) Homepage

      Would Apple have blocked all access to such an editorial?
      The sad truth is that games are still treated as pure entertainment, devoid of any artistic or political statements.
      The problem with political games is that... they're still games.

      • Re:Politcal Games (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:56AM (#42519209) Homepage Journal
        This is really a problem in the walled garden model of iOS. Providing access to the web is a 'safe harbour' sort of endeavour (in the DMCA sense)—it's not Apple's fault if there's something bad on it. The App Store, however, is curated in a number of regards, and hence isn't neutral ground. This is the case both legally and in popular opinion. As a result, permitting an unpopular or extreme political view into their little garden could generate a boycott, a swath of ugly PR, or even a lawsuit. The company would rather not take those risks with this particular piece of content, and has probably decided that political stuff in general is too risky to pick through.
        • by nametaken (610866)

          I imagine what most of us would want to know is if Google Play would do the same.

          There is, of course, the outside option with Android devices. I question only the part about curated stores, and if it's at-all specific to Apple.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            You don't need anyone's permission to post an app to Google Play. You simply post it yourself and it's immediately available. It could still get taken down at some later point if Google decides it violates their terms of service, but I don't know of any cases where they've done that just because they didn't like a game making a political statement.

            But as you point out, what really matters is that you aren't restricted to Google Play. You can get apps from other places if you want. I don't object to Appl

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          It's important to note that this isn't a problem with the App store. Every single publishing house in the world has some kind of standards. The problem is there's no other way to get an app on your iPhone. The problem is the locked down device.

          And that is why I will not buy an iPhone.
      • Battleground: Election 2012 - Obama vs Romney [apple.com]
        This was political in nature and solely targeted a real government. Wasn't banned.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Onymous Coward (97719)

      You reject the quality and/or political message of the app, but miss the issue that Apple alone gets to say what's appropriate. Apple's authoritarian censorship is a "political game".

      • Its not authoritarian unless you decide you want to play their game. You always have the option of telling them to get bent and develop for another platform.

        Im not sure it makes sense to classify "right to develop games for Apple's store with whatever political speech I want" as a censorship issue.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Onymous Coward (97719)

          Okay, granted, it depends on context.

          Within the realm of Apple systems that run only apps we have "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom" and "the act or practice of supervising the manners or morality of others".

          Part of the problem is that opt-in commercial systems become de facto social requirements. Internet Explorer, Office, Facebook, LinkedIn, smartphones... It's hard to navigate society without opting in. I use none of these things, and having opted

          • Re:Politcal Games (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:36AM (#42519859) Homepage Journal

            I don't do IE. Don't do Office. I look at Facebook about once a week. No LinkedIn. No smartphone. So - where does that leave me? Have I faded away, and become a ghost or something?

            Oh, social pressure. Maybe I am a ghost, 'cause that social pressure doesn't affect me very much.

            And, you're a vegetarian? What's that got to do with anything? Oh - that social pressure thing. But, wait. Doesn't society pressure you to eat meat? We're all omnivores, and you choose to be different. Maybe that "social pressure" thing is just so much bullshit? You don't really care what people think, any more than I do. You're just flapping your gums in an attempt to feel morally superior or something. Phhhttttt!

          • Internet Explorer? You mean that browser that statistically/demographically most people don't even use anymore?
          • by s73v3r (963317)

            Nobody said you were entitled to things being easy.

      • by thoth (7907)

        So? It isn't like they are the government or some regulated utility/monopoly.

        I swear, half the time folks on Slashdot argue vociferously that a corporation is beholden only to itself, and then get all pissed off when that actually happens. I'm not saying it is good or bad, all the time and at the extremes, just don't be surprised when a corporation acts in self-interest when... you think it has every right to do that.

      • by gutnor (872759)

        Well, that's the usual "cover your asses or be ready to hire a lawyer" that brought you the stupid safety labels. Apple handle 20 billions download per years now, I guess the risk of losing client over the missing games is much lower than risk of getting sued by an upset association or worse be banned in some market altogether.

        You should not rely on private companies to defend your rights, you have the government for that. The government in this case can force certain term to Apple in exchange for the pr

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        Because that's what they agreed to when they started developing the game, and that's what iOS users agreed to when they bought their device.

        This group could have easily made their game for Android, not had to deal with any of this bullshit, and reached a larger audience.

        And as it turns out, they have. Their message has still gotten out, and people still have the ability to experience it.

    • Re:Politcal Games (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DarkOx (621550) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @11:03AM (#42519307) Journal

      I think the broader question is why does the fact that its a game warrant some higher editorial standard. Apple would not block the NYT app if they used it to publish an editorial titled "Assad is a Jerk".

      I don't see why a game that happens to portray the same opinion should be looked as different. Also the sort of people who we typically have editorializing about editorials do so because they happen to also be the types that read editorials; if they had any exposure to these games they'd complain about them too. I thought we for the mast part had societal value that considered freedom to express our opinions a virtue? Yes some of them are simplistic, and uniformed. I come back to so what?

      I don't think it laudable of Apple to run a market place that actively bars goods and services that happen to express opinions, about real things. Doubly so when its terribly inconsistent about when and on what those rules are actually enforced. Yes they have right to do it; just I chose not to participate.

      • Because the NYT App is not 'solely target[ing] a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity'. One particular editorial might. But overall one might expect some reasonable balance.

        • by DarkOx (621550)

          I can see your point but Apples other policy make it effective impossible to publish 'editorial' video game content then.

          Apple won't let you publish any application that runs outside code (well other than wrapper around mobile websites anyway). So you can't put something like Steam in the Appstore with its own library of content. So its pretty much can't publish a video game in Apple's walled garden that has any opinion about "a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real e

    • The issue is apple. Since when/why would someone rely on and/or trust apple?

      Put something out cross platform, everywhere - so that a refusal by Apple means nothing.

      I really don't understand how it's this hard for people to recognize that relying on a single platform is an incredibly poor idea. Ever since the inception of "web 2.0" the concept of a platform is broken into a limited functionality/walled garden.

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        They did put it out on Android. Meaning that people still have access to their game. Hell, on their site they have a link to Google Play AND a link directly to the APK.

    • The problem with political games is that... they're still political.

      The problem with political free speech is that it's still... political. So freakin' what? Deny it because it's inconvenient, because you don't like it, or, as Apple does, because you can?

      Fuck Apple. And fuck you, too.

  • Why? Why why why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chas (5144)

    Why are people still stupid enough to trust Apple enough to sink money and development time into their silly, arbitrary little prison-platform?

    Yeah! You COULD sell a bajillion copies! If they don't hamstring you and waste all your time and money.

    You can imagine that you're Elon Musk and that you're revolutionizing private space travel.

    The reality is, on Apple's platform, you're really Robert Stroud [wikipedia.org].

    • Why are people still stupid enough to trust Apple enough to sink money and development time into their silly, arbitrary little prison-platform?

      For the same reason a business does anything: it has historically had an attractive return on investment. Into what platform should companies sink development time instead?

      • Into what platform should companies sink development time instead?

        Not Apple [stallman.org].

        • Not, perhaps, the most compelling of arguments. He starts out fine, but ends up in true Stallman fashion. The GNU/faithful already avoid Apple like a plague carrier.

          • Not, perhaps, the most compelling of arguments.

            Oh? Good enough for me. But yes, I suppose yelling fire in a theater on fire is redundant.

      • by MacDork (560499)

        Why are people still stupid enough to trust Apple enough to sink money and development time into their silly, arbitrary little prison-platform?

        For the same reason a business does anything: it has historically had an attractive return on investment. Into what platform should companies sink development time instead?

        Yeah, the Powerball has a great return on investment too. You just pay a dollar and get millions.

        There are some Zynga's on the app store making mad cash. And for every hit like "Angry Birds", there are literally thousands of apps that don't sell at all. It's a bit like playing the lottery. You might be the next iFart. Odds are you've wasted lots of time and money for nothing.

        • Why are people still stupid enough to trust Apple enough to sink money and development time into their silly, arbitrary little prison-platform?

          For the same reason a business does anything: it has historically had an attractive return on investment. Into what platform should companies sink development time instead?

          Yeah, the Powerball has a great return on investment too. You just pay a dollar and get millions.

          There are some Zynga's on the app store making mad cash. And for every hit like "Angry Birds", there are literally thousands of apps that don't sell at all. It's a bit like playing the lottery. You might be the next iFart. Odds are you've wasted lots of time and money for nothing.

          But Powerball is based on luck. App success is based on quality and marketing. Huge difference.

          • by tepples (727027)

            But Powerball is based on luck. App success is based on quality and marketing. Huge difference.

            Quality I'll agree with, but as for the rest, can't tell if sarcasm. The analogy between the App Store and a lottery [arstechnica.com] appears to connect the success of marketing with luck, especially given the imperfection in the App Store's own search feature. Are there commonly accepted best practices for marketing an app in the App Store or Google Play Store?

          • App success is PRIMARILY based on NOT getting rejected by Apple first.

            After that, it's totally quality and marketing.

            • App success is PRIMARILY based on NOT getting rejected by Apple first.

              After that, it's totally quality and marketing.

              App rejection is overplayed, mostly by (1) Those that have been rejected for obvious violations that Apple lets you know about in advance, and (2) Fandroids who celebrate every rejection as a repudiation of Apple. I currently have 5 apps selling, only one of which got an initial rejection, but was cleared with a little email exchange with Apple.

            • by s73v3r (963317)

              App success is PRIMARILY based on NOT getting rejected by Apple first.

              95% of apps get through the approval process with little or no incident. The "dangers of rejection" are seriously over-hyped by anti-Apple fanboys.

              • And most of the remaining 5% get rejected because they have bugs.

                The rules allow one to predict pretty well what is acceptable and what is not. Out of hundreds of thousands of apps, there's perhaps 1 a month that gets a debatable rejection and hits the blogs. Those are pretty good odds.

        • There are some Zynga's on the app store making mad cash. And for every hit like "Angry Birds", there are literally thousands of apps that don't sell at all. It's a bit like playing the lottery.

          No, the lottery is a game of chance. Creating apps is a game of skill. The people not making money are the people with crappy apps.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Please educate me:

          There are some Zynga's on the app store

          What is that apostrophe for? I just don't understand, sorry I'm so illiterate...

    • by Dupple (1016592) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:21AM (#42518711)

      Why are people still stupid enough to trust Apple enough to sink money and development time into their silly, arbitrary little prison-platform?

      Why are people still stupid enough not to read the terms of the market their trying to enter? Beats me.

    • by alen (225700)

      $7 billion paid out to developers? maybe that's why?

      how much has the Play store paid out in royalties?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        How much of that $7 billion is in the pockets of Rovio?
      • Can you show how those developers needed Apple to make that money i.e. that they would not have made that much without Apple's restrictive ecosystem?
        • by s73v3r (963317)

          No, and quite frankly, I don't care to. It's a purely retarded argument.

          Although I could point to the Google Play store, which doesn't have those restrictions, and show how they've paid out far, far, far less than Apple has to developers.

    • A belittled as we may want to think of it ("silly little platform"), it's actually big. You can reach a lot of people through Apple apps.

      It's hard for most to understand the harm of having a corporation, a single entity decide what's acceptable.

      And it's especially hard for an overwhelming majority to grasp the concept of distributed, incremental contribution to problems and how one's individual actions play in.

      100 bandits descend on a village and rob the 100 villagers of their lunches, each bandit taking t

      • Now, I think Apple should have stuck to rejecting technically harmful, misleading and illegal apps, and not concerned themselves with content, but I think worries about censorship are way overblown. There is a powerful platform that runs on every iOS device, and is not censored by Apple in any way: the web.

        I suspect you'll find that this is their philosophical stance (I've seen quotes from Jobs that echo this, but I can't find them at the moment): native apps are their curated platform, whereas the web is w

        • There is a powerful platform that runs on every iOS device, and is not censored by Apple in any way: the web.

          Of course the web is censored by Apple. Apple has refused to support WebGL in Safari for iOS [slashdot.org]. So how should one make a 3D web game that Apple can't censor?

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            That is NOT CENSORSHIP.

            They are NOT OBLIGATED to cater to your whims.

            So how should one make a 3D web game that Apple can't censor?

            Who says you should be able to? If you're that afraid of "being censored", then release on a different platform. You are NOT entitled to a platform supporting your stuff.

          • WebGL is not part of HTML5 standards.

        • That's reassuring. I'll have to look at the issue in more depth.

          The primacy of apps over web is something to consider. That is, apps are more prominent and more capable.

        • There is a powerful platform that runs on every iOS device, and is not censored by Apple in any way: the web.

          Except that mobile apps are much more likely to reach people than the web. Mobile apps require the user to do fewer things and can better take advantage of the client's hardware. Telling developers to just write web apps is telling them to wait in line while the VIPs get to just walk past.

          liberal values

          What liberal values? Apple has no liberal values, they are just like any other large corporation: money first, values never.

          • Except that mobile apps are much more likely to reach people than the web. Mobile apps require the user to do fewer things and can better take advantage of the client's hardware. Telling developers to just write web apps is telling them to wait in line while the VIPs get to just walk past.

            Huh? I spend more time in the web browser of computing devices than anything else. I don't think I'm unusual. And as easy as it is to install an app, it's easier to visit a web page. There's virtually no friction.

            What liberal values? Apple has no liberal values, they are just like any other large corporation: money first, values never.

            I'm tempted to give you a snarky reply, because you just baldly state this like you're certainly right, and I'm a naive fool. However, I will try to explain why I think you're wrong on this and leave out the snark. People (and corporations are just a bunch of people) are rarely, if ever, motivated

            • I spend more time in the web browser of computing devices than anything else. I don't think I'm unusual

              You are unusual if you are talking about a smartphone. If people have a choice between an app and a website, they choose the app -- at the very least, it involves one less tap. Remember when we used to talk about having fewer clicks, and complained about websites that required two or three more clicks to get to the things we wanted?

              corporations are just a bunch of people

              A bunch of people whose operations are done using money borrowed from other people who want to see a return on their investment. A corporation cannot let values or anythin

              • You seem to be arguing against Apple's primary motivation being ethical. That's not what I said, either in my original comment or my followup. I think the motivation at Apple is complex, mostly comprising power, money and aesthetics, and a technological vision. Ethical considerations are in there, but they will probably be trumped by the others, all things being equal. I also think you're mistaking your ethics for being universal -- interoperability and technological freedom (which isn't identical with inte

          • by s73v3r (963317)

            Except that mobile apps are much more likely to reach people than the web.

            So fucking what? An editorial ran in the New York Times is much more likely to reach people than something written on my self hosted blog or my small town newspaper. Does that mean the NYT should be obligated to carry my writing?

            Telling developers to just write web apps is telling them to wait in line while the VIPs get to just walk past.

            Not anyone's problem but their own.

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        It's hard for most to understand the harm of having a corporation, a single entity decide what's acceptable.

        But, they don't. I went onto the Google Play store just now, and the game was available. I didn't download it, because I had no interest, but if I wanted to, I had full access.

        The developer has even put the APK up on their site for download.

        Pretty hard to beat that kind of access.

        You can reach a lot of people through Apple apps.

        And I could reach a lot of people through writing something in the New York Times, or by selling something at WalMart. Doesn't mean either of those parties are obligated to carry my stuff.

        Couple the difficulty of grasping this concept with the difficulty of knowing that there's harm being done in the first place and who can you expect to take the right actions except only the smartest?

        There isn't harm being done if there was ne

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      Yeah! You COULD sell a bajillion copies! If they don't hamstring you and waste all your time and money.

      95% of apps are approved with little or no incident, and in a timely manner. This idea that they're going to hamstring you is quite outdated.

    • Why are people still stupid enough to trust Apple enough to sink money and development time into their silly, arbitrary little prison-platform?

      Because they'll make more money than doing Android development. Reports from developers that have tried both platforms seem to put it at about 10:1 in terms of return.

      And the rules are published to developers. Whilst every set of rules has borderline cases, the sensible developers stick to something that's obviously within the rules, or test out a potentially rule breaching idea with a quick proof of concept.

      Given that this game is playable as on line as a HTML5 game, the iOS development probably consisted

  • Can you release a moddable game through apple that has fake flags and names, and rely on modders to alter flags/names to whatever the user wants? Or does Apple have a lockdown on mods, too?
    • by tepples (727027)

      Or does Apple have a lockdown on mods, too?

      Given the blanket ban on applications that download and execute code, such as NPC AI scripts associated with a mod, I'd guess so.

      • But changing images is not executing code. If downloading new text and images was prohibited, news apps wouldn't stay current.

  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:24AM (#42518753)

    just wait till the next earnings release in a week or two, Tim Cook will finally announce Chapter 11

    just because they kicked some app back

  • Android will be more than happy to have it. The same thing happened with Tawkon [google.com] Apple didn't want it, but Android is open to anyone - (and even Google Play is much more open than Apple's appstore). Mind you, Tawkon requires true parallel multitasking to work the best (i.e. must run while the call is ongoing) which is not the case with iOS: on iOS Tawkon would only monitor the radiation emission at the very beginning of the call - on Android it does this during the call duration).

    • I've got an app that does the same thing as Tawkon.

      I send you a text message that says "Warning: Your cellphone is producing safe amounts of electromagnetic radiation". Its only $0.99.

  • Oh Apple... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:44AM (#42519029) Journal

    "Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology – where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"

    Remember when this was the straw-man that Apple was against?

  • - When you were little, white people came from the sky and asked you to make a sad face for the camera.
    - The government, rebels, and UN peacekeepers all shoot at you.
    - You've ever drank water from a mud puddle.
    - You had a bean for dinner last night.
    - You've never seen your own face in a mirror.
    - Escalators terrify you.
    - The village witch doctor can let you talk telepathically through the cell phone.
    - You got a pack of cigarettes for your 10th birthday.
    - White people tell you to have savings accounts and get

  • App that violates guidelines is rejected, more at 11.

  • Perhaps Apple are just stopping people wasting their time

    The only winning move is not to play.

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